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May 13, 2007 12:28 AM   Subscribe

Jesus of Nazareth - a theological biography by Pope Benedict
posted by kyleg (63 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
An interesting quote from Benedict, from the third article:
"The temptation to use power to secure the faith has arisen again and again in various forms throughout the centuries, and again and again faith has risked being suffocated in the embrace of power. The struggle for the freedom of the Church, the struggle to avoid identifying Jesus’ Kingdom with any political structure, is one that has to be fought century after century. For the fusion of faith and political power always comes at a price: faith becomes the servant of power and must bend to its criteria."
posted by kyleg at 12:30 AM on May 13, 2007


Who taught the pope to write? Oh man, this will not end well.
posted by allen.spaulding at 12:38 AM on May 13, 2007


Am I the only Catholic among us who hopes that this Ratzinger guy is just a practice Pope to tide us over until someone credible comes along?
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 12:59 AM on May 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


What fresh Hell is this?
posted by loquacious at 1:11 AM on May 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


I was just thinking the other day about his quote about the "Inhumanity" of Islam. He was quoting a 14th century catholic emperor.

But if you think about it, catholic church of the middle ages was incredibly inhumane by modern standards, and if it wasn't for the Islamic world the much of the classical knowledge would have been lost. The fact is, in the middle ages the catholic church was truly a force for evil in the world. It certainly got better later on, but the stance against condoms was certainly not good in any sense.

I understand what draws people to religion, I understand why people might believe in supernatural gods and so forth, but why would you put religious faith in other people, and let them tell you what to think? Especially in an institution with such an awful track record.
posted by delmoi at 1:12 AM on May 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Who taught the pope to write? Oh man, this will not end well.

Yeah, that's pretty awful prose there. Is the problem that it is being translated from Latin?
posted by delmoi at 1:18 AM on May 13, 2007


if it wasn't for the Islamic world the much of the classical knowledge would have been lost.

you mean when the Islamic Turks finally booted the Byzantine Greeks out of Constantinople? :)
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:23 AM on May 13, 2007


Christianity in the 21st/22nd century will see Jesus demoted to being just a man. It will be admitted that the miracles probably didn't happen. Jesus was "just" a guy with an amazing philosophy, akin to Buddha. Whether he was the son of God will be a matter for debate.

People will need even more faith to believe in God. Some will walk away from the church, stating they can't believe unless Jesus was a magician. But religion has always been about faith, and Christianity will one again become popular.

Personally I don't think there's anything wrong with a big of God. People pin all kinds of atrocities on religion, but that's naive. Humankind is broken. It's as reasonable to blame religion as it is to blame the color of a restaurant's walls for a bad meal you've just had.
posted by humblepigeon at 1:47 AM on May 13, 2007


It's as reasonable to blame religion as it is to blame the color of a restaurant's walls for a bad meal you've just had.

I think you're completely overlooking the effect set and setting has on the enjoyment of a meal (and life in general). It may not be the whole story, but it certainly makes a difference.
posted by IronLizard at 2:10 AM on May 13, 2007


freshwater_pr0n asks Am I the only Catholic among us?

Shit, I hope so! That'd be... Oh, wait; you weren't done...

...who hopes that this Ratzinger guy is just a practice Pope to tide us over until someone credible comes along?


Ha! You're stuck with old bastard until he's dead! He could live a loooong time.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:08 AM on May 13, 2007


Christianity in the 21st/22nd century will see Jesus demoted to being just a man

I strongly disagree. This movement played out with the end of the Enlightenment, with such rational "brights" as Jefferson. The 19th and 20th centuries saw wave after wave of revivals.

Unless the 21st /22nd century brings to the masses contentment, wealth, health, and eternal life, there will always be a positive attraction for the Church.

Not to mention the extra bonuses in getting to piss on all the moral degenerates (trying to make our Great Land a Sodom and Gomorah) that the Church is leading the fighting against.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:11 AM on May 13, 2007


humblepigeon said People pin all kinds of atrocities on religion, but that's naive. Humankind is broken. It's as reasonable to blame religion as it is to blame the color of a restaurant's walls for a bad meal you've just had.

Spurious nonsense. If the colour of a kitchen's walls inspired the chef to poison everyone who didn't like say, shellfish... then'd you be onto something.

If you're trying to tell me that suicide bombers aren't inspired by religion, you're going to have to work a lot harder.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:12 AM on May 13, 2007


Ratzinger was a well-known and distinguished writer and theologian before he was elected Pope. Heck, my mother the Episcopal priest knew who he was when his name first came up (and she made a disgusted face).
posted by Peach at 3:41 AM on May 13, 2007


I'll wait for the movie.
posted by DenOfSizer at 4:24 AM on May 13, 2007


Oh, and this totally explains the condom hatin, right?
posted by DenOfSizer at 4:42 AM on May 13, 2007


He was quoting a 14th century catholic emperor.

no, a 14th century orthodox emperor
posted by pyramid termite at 6:55 AM on May 13, 2007


If you're trying to tell me that suicide bombers aren't inspired by religion, you're going to have to work a lot harder.

I think he's trying to say that if it weren't religion, it'd be something else.
posted by psmealey at 7:18 AM on May 13, 2007


I don't think there's anything wrong with a big of God.

metafilter: not that there's anything wrong with a big of God.
posted by quonsar at 7:20 AM on May 13, 2007


on topic: sounds as if the pope has been readin' himself some Tom Wright.
posted by quonsar at 7:26 AM on May 13, 2007


Who taught the pope to write?

The writing might have been OK, but translating German to Latin to English in Babelfish really messes it up.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:36 AM on May 13, 2007


metafilter: not that there's anything wrong with a big of God.

Metafilter: not that there's anything wrong with quoting mistypes as if they're hilarious.
posted by humblepigeon at 7:52 AM on May 13, 2007


If you're trying to tell me that suicide bombers aren't inspired by religion, you're going to have to work a lot harder.

Suicide bombers are inspired by hatred, and a desire to destroy, and a ego-lead desire to martyr themselves, and a desire to protect their "culture"... In fact, that's pretty much the history of mankind right there. That doesn't come from religion. That comes from human nature. Do you really believe that if you removed religion, you'd remove all of the above?

People like you blame religion because you're scared of it, because they know deep down in your soul that you too could have faith... That you too could believe in something irrational. And, as a rationalist, you hate this with a passion. You're scared of yourself.
posted by humblepigeon at 7:57 AM on May 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


People like you blame religion because you're scared of it, because they know deep down in your soul that you too could have faith... That you too could believe in something irrational. And, as a rationalist, you hate this with a passion. You're scared of yourself.

And that's a textbook example of projection.
posted by Brian B. at 8:16 AM on May 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you're trying to tell me that suicide bombers aren't inspired by religion, you're going to have to work a lot harder.
posted by chuckdarwin


*sigh*

Must we have this tired old debate yet again?

Humans are at base pretty awful creatures. Religion is merely a justification that some people use to treat other people in reprehensible ways. Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler.. any of them religious?

The fundamental conflict between the West (specifically the USA) and the Middle East is cultural, much as the sectarian violence in Ireland was cultural, though it did break down along religious lines. If the situation were similar but without the red herring of Islam, suicide bombers would find another justification.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:22 AM on May 13, 2007


Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler.. any of them religious?

Yes, they were all steeped in religious and superstitious traditions, like their countrymen. (Hitler propagandized religion if it makes any difference.) Furthermore, communism as an ideal among strangers was an Essene-Christian invention, where the first murders for not sharing ones goods was in the Acts of the Apostles itself. Also, the early communist revolutions in the modern era were populated with sincere Christian reformers. So on the balance, I'd say that communism was their orthodox dogma built on Christian beliefs. The colonial repression of the new world, however, was far worse on the scale of dogmatic disruptions, and was done in the name of religion directly.
posted by Brian B. at 8:35 AM on May 13, 2007


Steeped in, perhaps.. but they were all very explicitly anti-religious.

Nice try, though.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:38 AM on May 13, 2007


Steeped in, perhaps.. but they were all very explicitly anti-religious.

Most religions are anti-religious because they claim the only truth and must persecute all others. The idea that religion doesn't motivate a suicide bomber is a denial, and missing the point that the suicide bombers are often recruited from youth seminaries after brainwashing against the West on a dogmatic orthodox level.
posted by Brian B. at 8:45 AM on May 13, 2007


People like you blame religion because you're scared of it, because they know deep down in your soul that you too could have faith... That you too could believe in something irrational. And, as a rationalist, you hate this with a passion. You're scared of yourself.

Plenty of otherwise rational atheists believe in irrational things like true love and a self-guiding free market. That doesn't mean they can't be tired of religion providing an extremely convenient excuse for people to be assholes to every other living thing on the planet.
posted by cmonkey at 9:07 AM on May 13, 2007


Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler.. any of them religious?

Cult of personality? There are still people in China who worship Mao. This isn't just a metaphor, because if people accept that you are a perfect and just ruler as a matter of faith, you never need to justify your actions.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:18 AM on May 13, 2007


delmoi: "The fact is, in the middle ages the catholic church was truly a force for evil in the world."

*sigh* That seems to be the consensus nowadays, doesn't it? Those of us who actually care about history have our work cut out for us.

In other words: "in the middle ages the catholic church was truly a force for evil" is a supremely ignorant statement. It was a great deal more complex than that. Consider, for example, that in the Middle Ages most of the people who were interested in popularizing the works of Islamic philosophers were Catholics, actual church Catholics, not laypeople, who couldn't stand the bastards and wanted someday to manage to run them out of Europe and eventually the world. The notion that the Catholic Church as a whole just sat around and sent crusades out to kill muslims is simply flawed.

More people have died in the last 75 years as a result of nuclear weapons and gas chambers than ever died at the hands of the catholic church. Those nuclear weapons and gas chambers are the wondrous effects of science, which was brought about by people who claimed they were doing us a favor by ending the middle ages. Those people were full of shit. The medieval the greatest period of interreligious thought and ecumenical concord the world has ever known.
posted by koeselitz at 9:21 AM on May 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


Gas chambers are the problem? They sure beats this list of totures(no pun necessary).
posted by Brian B. at 9:35 AM on May 13, 2007


The idea that religion doesn't motivate a suicide bomber is a denial

Religion is the justification, not the motivation. Do try to pay attention, won't you?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:38 AM on May 13, 2007


The medieval the greatest period of interreligious thought and ecumenical concord the world has ever known.

What? You have to be kidding.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:40 AM on May 13, 2007


Religion is the justification, not the motivation. Do try to pay attention, won't you?

Dirtynumbbangboy, what else did the voices say?
posted by Brian B. at 9:42 AM on May 13, 2007


Well, I'm sure this is going to be another 200 post trainwreck of an argument. I would love to be here for all of it, but unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to participate in this thread for too long, because I need to go to work soon. It's a good thing my neighbors don't accept on faith the 10 commandments as the foundation of all morality, because otherwise, they would stone me to death for doing so. I just felt like mentioning that.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:44 AM on May 13, 2007


The Pope, this Pope, talking about avoiding identification with political structure and power?

What next, the tobacco industry selling us cigarettes with big health warnings on the package?
posted by pleeker at 9:45 AM on May 13, 2007


Give it up, Brian. And do try and spell my name correctly, kthx.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:54 AM on May 13, 2007


The writing might have been OK, but translating German to Latin to English in Babelfish really messes it up.

Hey, it says 'translated into English by Adrian J. Walker'. Credit where credit is due!

(well I don't really think it has anything to do with the translation, it's the heaviness of official church pronouncement, all that solemnity of 2000 years of tradition, with an extra Bavarian weight, and that added personal touch of gloom and doom, it's not really supposed to be pleasant is it?)
posted by pleeker at 9:58 AM on May 13, 2007


The idea that religion doesn't motivate a suicide bomber is a denial, and missing the point that the suicide bombers are often recruited from youth seminaries after brainwashing against the West on a dogmatic orthodox level.

Even though I already went through this today in the other religious argument, I'll go ahead and explain it again here for you. This argument is basically an example of an "after this, therefore because of this" fallacy. Yes, suicide bombers are very religious. They may even cite religion as the primary justification for their actions. But there are so many other political, psychological, social, and economic reasons for why a suicide bomber does what he does that to place the blame entirely on religion as a whole is rather simple and/or disingenuous.

And this is the point I think dirtynumbangelboy was trying to make. The sad reality is that some people are just assholes, and they'd be assholes whether religion was around or not. If you honestly believe someone who thinks he has a moral obligation to blow up himself along with several innocent people who have absolutely nothing to do with the conflict for which he's blowing himself up would be a perfectly well-adjusted individual if only religion wasn't in the picture, then you've got a lot more faith than I do.
posted by magodesky at 10:17 AM on May 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Give it up, Brian. And do try and spell my name correctly, kthx.

Is it not a phrase? is it dirty numb an gel boy, or dirty num bang el boy? Please advise.
posted by Brian B. at 10:21 AM on May 13, 2007


magodesky, you are mindreading. The suicide bombers left confessional videos for this very reason. You simply don't understand their religion. Nobody is making the fallacies you suggest but you wish they were.
posted by Brian B. at 10:36 AM on May 13, 2007


[expletive deleted]: "[The medieval the greatest period of interreligious thought and ecumenical concord the world has ever known]? You have to be kidding."

Tell me about the Medieval, then. Tell me what the hell it is you're talking about.

I'm talking about Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Philo, Al-Farabi, Avicenna, Averroes, Maimonides, the Sufis (Muslim, Jewish, and Christian), Saladin, St. Anselm, St. Aquinas, William of Occam, and the rest of the incredibly broad and open thinkers and leaders who dominated this period. I'm talking about more cross-cultural thought than had ever occurred before, religious conventions broken down by those who wished to share wisdom, and a true openness tempered by a love of truth.

In this most provincial of times, most people don't know a damned thing about what life was like even 500 years ago in our civilization. I'd like to know what medieval you're talking about. Please prove to me that your knowledge of this period extends beyond a few trivial facts about the Crusades and a silly interpretation of a thousand-year period that was invented so that certain people in the seventeenth century could sell books.
posted by koeselitz at 10:41 AM on May 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


But you do understand it, Brian? How typical. We are pointing out the inherent fallacy in the knee-jerk 'all religion is bad' argument, and since you're one of those knee-jerkers, a moderate position is completely anathema to you.

You've got more in common with the suicide bombers than we do, so I suppose it stands to reason that you allegedly understand them.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:42 AM on May 13, 2007


dirtynumb...boy, it doesn't follow that I have anything in common with them besides disagreeing with your religion. You, however, strike me as they do, common zealots who conduct conversation by declaring their own opinions as facts for their opponent to keep up with.
posted by Brian B. at 11:34 AM on May 13, 2007


koeselitz: brilliant.

I agree - it seems the general consensus on the Middle Ages amounts to a 'serious understanding' of the movie Excalibur.

Or maybe Dungeons and Dragons.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:35 AM on May 13, 2007


Tell me about the Medieval, then. Tell me what the hell it is you're talking about....I'm talking about Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Philo...

I agree - it seems the general consensus on the Middle Ages amounts to a 'serious understanding' of the movie Excalibur.


So the Medieval and middle ages now apply to people born BC or died before the fall of the Roman Empire?
posted by Brian B. at 11:42 AM on May 13, 2007


In other words: "in the middle ages the catholic church was truly a force for evil" is a supremely ignorant statement.

Perhaps you could enlighten me, then.

The notion that the Catholic Church as a whole just sat around and sent crusades out to kill muslims is simply flawed.

I guess not. How does this contradict my statement? I never said anything about the crusades; I was talking about their effect on western culture, in Europe. And that effect sucked ass. Their day-to-day style of governance was profoundly immoral by today's standards.

More people have died in the last 75 years as a result of nuclear weapons and gas chambers than ever died at the hands of the catholic church.

Well, the world's population was much larger as well.

which was brought about by people who claimed they were doing us a favor by ending the middle ages. Those people were full of shit.

Okay, that's insane. Are you literally saying that life was better in the middle ages then in the 20th century? Yes, millions of people died in war, but billions more lead more comfortable lives then any other time in history. And you're literally blaming enlightenment philosophy (and even the Protestantism of the first Natural Philosophers) for Facism and Stalinism? If it wasn't for science we'd still be scrounging around on the ground like animals, with a few elites able to enjoy life and kill peasants a whim.

And is "better then Hitler" the best defense you can come up with? Not killing as many people as Hitler (for lack of skill, rather then lack of will) does not make you not-evil.

And if you think about it, I bet that a majority of the people who died in WWII lived longer and certainly more comfortable lives then they would have in the middle ages, thanks to science and modernity.

I'm talking about Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Philo, Al-Farabi, Avicenna, Averroes, Maimonides

Who cares about "the thinkers" I'm talking about your local Priests sawing people in half for "Heresies"
posted by delmoi at 11:59 AM on May 13, 2007


dirtynumb...boy, it doesn't follow that I have anything in common with them besides disagreeing with your religion. You, however, strike me as they do, common zealots who conduct conversation by declaring their own opinions as facts for their opponent to keep up with.
posted by Brian B.


Pot, kettle, black. Your kneejerk absolutism is just as bad as theirs.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:03 PM on May 13, 2007


can't see the angel in front of his face.
posted by quonsar at 12:40 PM on May 13, 2007






More people have died in the last 75 years as a result of nuclear weapons and gas chambers than ever died at the hands of the catholic church. Those nuclear weapons and gas chambers are the wondrous effects of science,

Interesting.

Should I infer from that statement that had the Catholic church had nuclear weapons at their disposal they would have refrained from using them?
Or gas chambers. Or bullets. Or bombs. Or Captain Picard'e phaser.
posted by notreally at 1:16 PM on May 13, 2007


More people have died in the last 75 years as a result of nuclear weapons and gas chambers than ever died at the hands of the catholic church

The Catholics: Not As Bad as the SS Totenkopf and 8th Army AF!
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:25 PM on May 13, 2007


Koeselitz, let me first say that I don't perceive the Middle Ages as uniquely unenlightened compared to the Roman Empire and especially the Renaissance. I'm well aware than a strong argument can be made that the 16th and 17th centuries saw more religious violence in Europe, what with the French Wars of Religion and the Thirty Year's War, but this is beside the point.

What I do take issue with is your absurd claim that the Middle Ages represented some kind of golden age of “ecumenical concord.” You can't just sweep away explicitly religious atrocities like the Crusades, the massacre of the Cathars and the Waldensians, the Reconquista and the Inquisition with the names of a few theologians and philosophers. I know there were times and places of relative religious tolerance in mediaeval Europe, such as Moorish Spain. That said, if “ecumenical concord” meant anything to the Mediaeval Catholic Church, it primarily meant enforcing its doctrinal supremacy by whatever violence necessary. It is precisely the abuses of the Church during the preceding centuries that lead to the Protestant reformation. Furthermore, the violence that ensued could surely have been prevented, at least in part, if in the spirit of ecumenism had decided that peace was a more important virtue than the supremacy of Catholic hierarchy and dogma.

Finally, I have to say I find it hard to believe that you meant this literally. I’ll accept the point that the Middle Ages were not the unique pit of barbarism the era is often caricatured as, but it’s impossible to deny that Mediaeval Catholic Europe was anything but tolerant of any person who in the slightest way threatened the authority of the Church. We aren’t talking about total apostate atheist monsters like myself; we’re talking about people who believed in Christ, but worshiped in ways that the Church considered heretical. That isn’t ecumenical concord; that is religious persecution in its rawest form, a form we are mostly free from today.

One thing I can say for certain, if the only thing I had to go on was religious tolerance, there is no way I would choose to live in Mediaeval Europe over 21st century Canada. There isn’t even the barest of comparison, and to suggest the complete opposite is either trolling or purest delusion.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:32 PM on May 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler.. any of them religious?

Um, yep. Hitler certainly. Even if you ignore the innate cynicism behind his use of religion and religious tropes to manipulate the populace, you're still left with his frequent references to Providence and a divine 'Lawgiver' in more private quotations. Plus there's the Nazi endorsed 'Positive Christianity', which emphasised Jesus as a freedom fighter against jewish terrorists AND his expressed desire to smash the atheisitic.

It's a tricky road to hoe, admittedly, to separate Hitler's beliefs from his manipulations, without descending into quote mining, and he certainly wasn't a church on Sunday kind of guy. But there's a lot of evidence to suggest his teutonic meglomania was induced by a sense of 'divine right'.

As for the others, well, perhaps not. But spot the one that didn't expouse an irrational belief in an unjustified ideology. Religion is just a subset of that - and a rationalist would have to call Stalin, et al, on it too. We just pick on the religious because there's more of them being vocal at the moment. (Watch out, homeopaths - you're next)
posted by Sparx at 2:49 PM on May 13, 2007


AND his

By 'his', in this case, I mean Hitler. though if Jesus had done it, too, that would be pretty funny.
posted by Sparx at 2:50 PM on May 13, 2007


For those who maintain that suicide bombing is inspired by religion please check out Robert Pape's book Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. This is a factual analysis of campaigns that have used suicide bombing and basically show that suicide bombing is a tactic used to win a war (campaign, insurgency whatever), not a religiously motivated plea for help. Religion (or race or ethnicity) may be used to manipulate some of those who carry the bomb, but the tactic is not inspired by religion.

Religion (and most other long lasting "...isms") have a lot to answer for through history but suicide tactics are not one of them.
/derail
posted by dangerousdan at 3:33 PM on May 13, 2007


Their day-to-day style of governance was profoundly immoral by today's standards.

Makes you wonder how we're going to look by tomorrow's standards.
posted by IndigoJones at 3:37 PM on May 13, 2007


magodesky, you are mindreading. The suicide bombers left confessional videos for this very reason. You simply don't understand their religion. Nobody is making the fallacies you suggest but you wish they were.

Now it just seems like you're being purposely combative and ignorant. I do understand their religion, and I'm well aware of the confessional videos. But you can't just look at confessional videos. They don't give you the whole story. They only give you the terrorists' own perception of themselves. So sure, of course they're going to use religion as their rationalization. After all, who would want to be remembered as a cold-hearted murderer when they can be remembered as a divine crusader on a mission from God? But just because that's how suicide bombers choose to see themselves doesn't mean that religion is the only or even the primary factor at play.

For one thing, it's a far too simplistic explanation. If it was merely a matter of wanting to kill anyone who doesn't believe in their god, why then would groups like al Qaida be so focused on attacking America as opposed to say, China? Or Japan? Or Russia, the country they were originally formed to fight? The reality is that the old Soviet Union was at least as offensive to the sensibilities of a devout, fundamentalist Muslim as America is today, if not more so. But as long as they were willing to pull out of Afghanistan, al Qaida really didn't care that much about their personal beliefs and practices. They certainly didn't like how the Soviets acted. But they weren't about to follow them into Russia to make an issue of it. Ultimately, it was a political conflict. Religion merely brought them together and motivated them.

It's much the same with the current situation. Religion may be what they put at the forefront, but it's far from being the only factor in play. Even if you take religion out of the picture completely, there are still a number of political and economic factors bringing America into conflict with the Arab world. And really, the hasn't been a single major conflict in history in which religion was the only or even the most important motivating factor. That's not "mindreading." It's simply being able to objectively look at a situation and consider all of the elements rather than latching on to the first and most obvious scapegoat available.

I'm not even denying that there's a correlation between religion and such acts. But as anyone with even an introductory level understanding of logic can tell you, correlation is not causation. What you're doing is assuming that religion is the cause of the violent behavior based on no other reason than because it came first. That is the very definition of a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, and it is just as irrational and disingenuous as people like Jack Thompson blaming school shootings on video games.
posted by magodesky at 3:43 PM on May 13, 2007


"Hitler- certainly wasn't a church on Sunday kind of guy"


this is the best thing i've ever read on metafilter.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:11 PM on May 13, 2007


The gospel according to Ratzinger.


Some will walk away from the church, stating they can't believe unless Jesus was a magician.

God I hope so. They make the worst Christians.
posted by Doohickie at 7:16 PM on May 13, 2007


If the people in this thread had armies they'd be invading and massacring each other.
posted by Nahum Tate at 9:23 PM on May 13, 2007


People like you blame religion because you're scared of it, because they know deep down in your soul that you too could have faith... That you too could believe in something irrational. And, as a rationalist, you hate this with a passion. You're scared of yourself.

This thread is irredeemable (hah! see what I did there?), but I am compelled to do a driveby.

I have found it a useful policy to never assign any credence to anything said by anyone who starts sentences with 'People like you...', particularly when they're addressing someone they've never met.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:23 PM on May 13, 2007


Why did I even bother?
posted by kyleg at 10:57 PM on May 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well just in case anyone else is actually interested in the political aspects of this warning against 'politicising faith' (nevermind all the instances of self-contradiction there), it comes in the context of a renewed attack against liberation theology, and that's also explicitely stated in the book itself - Pope's book takes aim at liberation theology and the flood of books about Jesus:
As early as Page 32, he takes on the Latin American subversives who agitated for liberation theology, an outlook that frames Jesus as a revolutionary who demands that poverty be eased in this world, instead of waiting for justice in the next.

It is probably no coincidence that the book comes out just as Pope Benedict travels this week in Brazil, the largest Catholic country in the world, and one of the most problematic for Rome, as thousands of Catholics leave the church daily for the more passionate, less strict Pentecostal denominations.
posted by pleeker at 1:29 AM on May 15, 2007


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